Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So...I made a life list

Life List

1. Stay in a house on the beach by myself for a week
2. Create my own Tarot deck
3. Ride in a 1958 Edsel
4. Make love in a graveyard (without getting arrested)
5. Learn to play the drums
6. Ride in a boat on the ocean (done)
7. Ride in a helicopter (done)
8. Adopt three dogs
9. Build and live in my dream house
10. Meet Keanu Reeves
11. Take a motorcycle riding class
12. Go to a shooting range
13. Finally watch Jason’s Bad Religion DVD (done)
14. Write my autobiography
15. Get more tattoos
a. Fall Child
b. Bast(done)
c. Scarab
16. See a wolf in the wild
17. Kick fibromyalgia’s ass
18. Meet Angelina Jolie
19. Work full time for Not Without My Pet (at a higher level of prosperity than ever before)
20. Get my nose pierced (done)
21. Donate books to the library
22. Quit smoking
23. Take a train all the way from one coast to the other in the U.S.
24. Finish Certified Humane Education Specialist program
25. Finish curriculum for Hecate’s Torch
26. Take an acting class or otherwise find out if I can act
27. Learn to sing
28. Read The Inferno
29. Read Nicholas Nickleby
30. Read The Waste Land
31. Read Moby Dick
32. Read Turn of the Screw
33. Read The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
34. Read As I Lay Dying
35. Read Mrs. Dalloway
36. Read Candide
37. Read Gulliver’s Travels
38. Read Ethan Frome
39. Read House of Spirits
40. Read Jude the Obscure
41. Read Lolita
42. Re-read Lord of the Flies
43. Re-read To Kill a Mockingbird
44. Read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
45. Read Madame Bovary
46. See Bad Religion live
47. See Green Day live
48. Win $10 million in the lottery, or some other contest thingie
49. Ride a horse bareback on the beach
50. Tour New Orleans – French Quarter tour, Garden District Tour, Graveyard Tour, Ghost Tour.
51. Visit the Louvre, Notre Dame and Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris
52. Visit the Pantheon and the Colosseum in Rome
53. Visit Tara and Newgrange in Ireland
54. See the architecture of AntonĂ­ Gaudi in Barcelona, the Alhambra in Granada and the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain
55. Stay here for a week: http://www.mayatulum.com/ (Mexico)
56. Go on a polar bear watching tour and see the Northern Lights in Manitoba, Canada
57. See the Sydney Opera House, explore ancient rock art and cave paintings at Kimberly, Australia
58. Visit the Egyptian Antiquities Museum, the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Valley of Kings in Egypt
59. Visit the Acropolis, Delphi, the Dionysos Theatre and Eleusis, Greece
60. Visit Butterfly Creek, Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World, Howick Historical Village, the Whitford Bird Garden and Rotorua's arts centre in New Zealand
61. Visit Glastonbury Tor, Stonehenge, Lincoln Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, Wells Cathedral, York Minster, Westminster Abbey, Durham Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Warwick Castle and The Globe Theatre, England
62. Visit Chartres Cathedral and the Palace of Versailles, France
63. Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and butterfly garden and ride the Rain Forest Aerial Tram in Costa Rica
64. Visit all 50 states
a. Alabama
b. Alaska
c. Arizona (done)
d. Arkansas
e. California (done)
f. Colorado (done)
g. Connecticut (done)
h. Delaware
i. Florida
j. Georgia
k. Hawaii (done)
l. Idaho
m. Illinois
n. Indiana
o. Iowa
p. Kansas
q. Kentucky
r. Louisiana (done)
s. Maine
t. Maryland
u. Massachusetts (done)
v. Michigan
w. Minnesota
x. Mississippi
y. Missouri
z. Montana
aa. Nebraska
bb. Nevada (done)
cc. New Hampshire
dd. New Jersey
ee. New Mexico
ff. New York (done)
gg. North Carolina
hh. North Dakota
ii. Ohio
jj. Oklahoma
kk. Oregon (done)
ll. Pennsylvania
mm. Rhode Island (done)
nn. South Carolina
oo. South Dakota
pp. Tennessee
qq. Texas
rr. Utah
ss. Vermont
tt. Virginia
uu. Washington (done)
vv. West Virginia
ww. Wisconsin
xx. Wyoming
65. Take horseback riding lessons to become a better rider
66. See dolphins in the wild (done)
67. Volunteer at Best Friends for a few days, while staying on site
68. Be on Oprah to promote Not Without My Pet
69. Develop a nation wide network of foster caregivers for domestic violence pets
70. Get paid for public speaking
71. Help build 50 on-site pet facilities at domestic violence shelters
72. Pay off credit cards and my school loans
73. Stay in a 5 star hotel
74. Get my Italian poster for The Crow framed
75. Scan my old photos

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good news/not so good news

Well, I have an explanation now for why I'm so exhausted and in pain all the time. Which, in turn, explains why I've been MIA from groups and teams I belong to.

The not so good news: I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Many people are familiar with this as a chronic pain illness, from the television commercials. It is that, for sure, but it's more than that. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are a wide variety of (mostly experimental) treatment options available. For now, my doctor is starting me out with a medium dosage of an anti-depressant which is different from the anti-depressant I already take and does not conflict with that or my migraine medication. I'm going for blood tests as well, to help him
understand what treatment(s) may work best for me.

The good news: Fibromyalgia is not progressive, so it won't eventually cripple me or kill me or anything. Certain conditions and behaviors will make the symptoms better or worse, but the illness itself won't get worse, if that makes sense.

For me, the good news is that all the things I've been beating myself up for are actually not my fault! That alone makes me feel better. It also explains several things I'd previously thought were individual physical issues. It turns out they're all part of the same thing!

This diagnosis explains why I'm exhausted all the time and why I'm in pain all the time. It explains why, when I get home from work, all I can do is sit on the couch for an hour or two and then go to bed. It explains why my weekends usually consist of alternately sitting on the couch and sleeping. It also explains why I get sick all the time, catching any little bug that comes along. It explains my sensitivity to scents, sounds and light. It explains my memory loss issues and it explains why I can't think of the word I want in conversation. (Yeah, I know everybody does that from time to time, but it's a matter of degree – how much and how often.) It may also explain why I get migraines in the first place. It explains a few other things that are too icky to share.

Right now, we're at the point of seeing what the new medication does and waiting for lab results. What I need from my friends and family is understanding. Please understand that when I say I'm tired, I don't mean the kind of tired that many adults in the modern world experience, which sucks enough as it is. I mean I'm exhausted. I mean I'm too tired to answer the freaking phone, if you can believe that.

If I don't accept invitations to do things and I don't come visit, it's not at all that I don't want to see you or that I don't care or whatever. It means that just driving for an hour wipes me out for a couple of days afterward. It means that I've been instructed by my doctor to lie down several times during the day. It means that it takes me so long to recover from any activity that just thinking of going to do something makes me want to climb in bed, pull the covers over my head and cry.

It's been like this for a while now, but now that I have a diagnosis I feel like I can tell people how I've been feeling without worrying that anyone will think I'm making excuses or exaggerating. It really is this bad.

But…I am hopeful now! What's wrong with me is not my fault and there are real treatment options! I'm looking forward to feeling better and getting my life back. I'm also happy to have finally found a doctor who has given me a correct diagnosis and who can help me. Maybe now I can jettison some of these other doctors and stop supporting the entire AMA. Ha!

I hope that everyone will all bear with me as I try out treatments to see what works. Thanks for reading my loooong post.